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We've seen steady growth every year, and this holiday season is forecast to be much stronger than last year....
When will the curve plateau? Who knows..
The web gives us access to unique products from all over the world, and the convenience of shopping in our underwear. Compare that to the glut of the same "chain stores" in every mall in the US, fighting crowds, parking, etc...
According to the US Census, ecommerce has grown at about three times the rate of brick-and-mortar retail in the first two quarters of 2005.
Internet stocks have done well lately, tho Amazon just had a weak quarter.
But, Pfishing IS a real problem for newbies. I have no doubt that ID theft fear is scaring some. I wouldn't want to turn over a computer (and credit card) to grandma these days.
Does anyone have any experience using a service like this to address consumers security concerns? I wonder if the average user would even know what it means if my site was verified by Hacker Safe.
BTW, our main focus of selling -wholesale- has steadily increased so that may have some impact to online sales. But then why has retail call in not dropped?
Just some personal observations.
Run a study asking if people are concerned about internet security and you can virtually guarantee a "Surfers Panic about Online Theft" headline.
Its easy journalisim.
A new study finds some computer users are cutting back on time spent surfing the internet. Some have also stopped buying altogether on the web.
[edited by: mona at 1:40 pm (utc) on Oct. 28, 2005]
Out of interest, is anyone selling primarily 'high value' (> $1000) items on the 'net and what trends are you seeing?
Whether this is spilling over into e-com I could not say. Will it? I would say most definitely, at least at some level.
I suspect that this is an issue that will gain additional importance over the next year or two. We may see the development of new methods (ar at least new marketing) to insure protection from ID theft.
We have a jewelry retailer as a client, specializing in engagement rings/wedding sets. Average purchase is $2,500, 90% of their biz online...
Almost all orders are finalized on the phone, but consumer trust is obviously not an issue.
Jewelry is a unique vertical though, as diamond quality is very subjective, and brick and mortar jewelers have taken a lot of heat lately, as 3rd party diamond rating services have been found to not be reliable on the true market value of stones.
That said, our client, uses this to their advantage, with hundreds of referral statements on their site, and better communication through email during the selection/build process than any brick and mortar jeweler offers.
Identity theft-based attempts are also getting smarter - the fraudsters do their research well. One even knew the name of the victim's wife, probably from the UK electoral roll, but didn't know the child's name.
There's definitely a war going on at the moment, and I think its up to retailers to be smart to both survive and maintain the trust of the consumer. I don't think shopping online is going to see a massive impact in the years to come, but it will see some, and IMHO combining the convenience of browsing the internet to find the product that you're interested in, and allowing customers to call a cheap-rate number if they have any doubts or concerns, is the best way to go.
Oh, and of course, having a fraud system and fraud dept that is ahead of the fraudsters! ;-D
When you have a $200 meal in Manhattan, does the waiter wear a button on his tux saying: "I won't rip you off...sir"?
However we do all sorts of things to engender trust. We mention that we're an old established Brick/Mortar company. We invite customers to visit us. Most of all, we prominently show our #800 and invite phone in orders AND calls for info.
If people were scared (and they SHOULD be a bit concerned about threats), we'd expect to see more phone orders. But I don't think we are.
One of my recent ecomm projects has an average sale of about $500. We've got a live chat option but no phone number on the site. It's been really interesting for me to occasionally work the live chat and interact with customers in the buying process.
I've seen a surprising number of older buyers who state that they've never bought anything on the web before. That's encouraging. There's the occasional question about "how secure" is the order but almost all those asking end up placing an order. Also have people asking for a phone number to place the order but, again, almost all those who ask that question end up placing an order online.
Also, when you read negative stuff about the Internet in magazines, newspapers and see it on the television news, they do have a financial interest in keeping Internet growth in check. That interest is their own advertising revenue base. Sure most of these companies have a web site, but their main profits still come from their old fashion advertising models and the Internet is considered competition for those ad dollars.
Anything they can do to slow down Internet growth is good news for their own bottom line.
You know who is really living in fear - newspaper proprietors and all those media people who are losing out to the web.
Boo! That'll scare 'em.
If the comparison shopping sites are any barometer, things have cooled off a bit from 100% growth YTY, but it is still healthy.
There is no widespread trend of less online purchasing. 25% growth rates (vasries by category) seems to the accepted guidance.
I have no problem with online sales really because I put BBB logo, D&B logo, SSL safe and secure logo on my site. I also fully disclose my address and phone numbers. We do not try to hid from the phone like many Internet companies do and do sells and customer service by phone. I also have a match on my whois info addresses so it matches the business address. We also use an identity thing that comes with the SSl so you can easily see if the URL is being spoofed or not.
I want buy that "Hacker Safe" thing because it shounds retarded... why would I want my website to be safe for hackers. :) I can easily make a button in PSP and put Hacker Resistant or something on my website without spending $1500 a year.
I rarely use a websites shopping cart unless it is a known, reputable business. I usually look up the 800 number and order it using the information from the website.
I also use only one credit card for internet purchases that has a capped credit limit to prevent fraud.
I have learned that there are many unscrupulous websites that will take your money and not deliver.
Calling the online store helps me verify that the item is in stock and that if there is a problem with the order, I can actually talk to someone about it.
Example - <The old 'its on back order' routine when the website says the item is in stock and we charged your credit card anyway.>
Many online stores do not have email's nor contact information easily viewable. That is the first red flag I look for.
I know that most cc fraud comes from restaurants and such, but I have been really disturbed by the reports in the past couple of years about hackers getting into databases of payment processors. I am just glad that most of my customers do not understand the significance of that fact.